As with any sport, tennis offers an array of iconic sights and sounds, from the satisfying tone of the ball making contact with a racquet to the breakneck pace of two skilled opponents engaged in a constant back-and-forth. Once the dust has settled and your breath has been caught, it’s time to think about how to help your body recover from the strain of your tennis match – a competition that can drain even the most seasoned athletes. While most players are quite familiar with the need for hydration, one question fewer people ask is, “What should you eat after a tennis match?” To find out, keep reading as the experts at aminoVITAL®, makers of amino acid supplements for athletes, shed some light on the subject.
What Your Body Needs After a Tennis Match
In the aftermath of a long round of tennis, your body needs certain resources, both to replace those that were used up and to aid in the healing process. If you finished your tennis match without a pulled muscle or skinned knee, you might be wondering why you need to worry about healing, but the truth is that all of us experience damage to our muscles when we exercise, and doubly so if that exercise is rigorous. Considering the intensity of your average tennis match, there’s no doubt that a player will need some help recovering from the exertion, but what does that recovery require?
Carbohydrates for Energy
Firstly, someone coming from a tennis match should eat a source of simple carbs. This may sound counterintuitive, given all the bad press surrounding carbs, but the fact of the matter is that your body needs them after exercise. That’s because any long workout will exhaust your body’s supply of a compound called glycogen, which is a form of glucose stored in the muscles and used as fuel during exercise1. Right after you finish exercising, your body will enter a recovery period in which the synthesis of glycogen is kicked into high gear, but for those efforts to be successful, you’ll need to provide the raw materials for glycogen – which is where the carbs come in. Simple carbs tend to be best for this, since they’re quickly digested, but try not to overdo it on some of the unhealthier sources of simple carbs, such as sugar. Instead, try to eat a piece of fruit, drink some milk, or use a post-workout recovery supplement that offers a few grams of carbs.
Amino Acids for Strength and Recovery
While athletes of every stripe will be familiar with the need for protein after exercise, the truth is that what your body needs after a tennis match isn’t so much the protein itself but the amino acids that protein contains. These compounds are critical to the repair of damaged muscles2, though some are more important for this function than others. The branched-chain amino acids (also called BCAAs), for instance, are a group of amino acids known for their muscle-aiding abilities. One of these compounds, leucine, is especially potent as a means for boosting muscle production2, and it – along with the other BCAAs – can also provide the resources used by the body to create these new cells. In addition, a pre- or mid-workout amino acid supplement can help to protect muscles against damage while fighting fatigue as you power through set after set.
The BCAAs aren’t the only amino acids worth seeking out after a tennis match. The amino acid glutamine, for instance, has been shown3 to help reduce soreness after intense exercise and improve the speed at which a person returns to peak strength. For those who play tennis frequently, this means that glutamine can help you be ready for your next match sooner and make the recovery process less painful. While both the BCAAs and glutamine can be obtained via common sources of animal proteins, such as meat and seafood, and you can eat beans and nuts to get them as well; however, the fastest and most effective way to deliver these amino acids to your body when it needs them is through a supplement made with free-form amino acids, which need very little digestion before they’re introduced to your bloodstream, and then to your muscles.
Electrolytes for Hydration
If you’ve played even one tennis match, you know that, no matter the weather, you’re going to sweat a lot. While this sweat can help you stay cool as you play, it also robs your body of two essentials: water and electrolytes. Of course, the importance of water is already well-known, and even if it wasn’t, your body would tell you – through thirst – that you need more of it. Electrolytes, however, are more subtle, but because they help to regulate hydration throughout the body, they’re almost as important as water. When you’re recovering after a tennis match, be sure that you get plenty of fluids and electrolytes to replenish your body’s stores and keep your body in top shape. While there are certain foods you can eat to get electrolytes – namely nuts and some vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and avocados – most athletes prefer to get their water and electrolytes at the same time, whether through a sports drink or supplement to enhance hydration.
Try a Lean Amino Acid Supplement for Tennis Players from aminoVITAL®
When choosing the best food or supplement to eat or drink after a tennis match, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind, some of which are no doubt unique to your own personal preferences. By offering everything the body craves after a tough workout – amino acids, vitamins, electrolytes, and the carbs in our Rapid Recovery mix – the BCAA supplements from aminoVITAL® make a great choice, one any tennis player should consider. To learn more about these low-calorie, fast-acting supplements, visit aminoVITAL® online or call (888) 264-6673 today.